After weeks of waiting, the first substantial winter storm hit Southwest Colorado this week, dumping upwards of a foot of snow in the high country.
Snow continued to fall Wednesday night on the mountain passes north of Durango on U.S. Highway 550, where chain laws were in effect for Red Mountain, Molas and Coal Bank passes.
Meteorologist Dennis Phillips with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction said snow was likely to continue Wednesday night in the mountains.
Durango, Bayfield and Ignacio saw mostly rain Tuesday night and Wednesday, but the moisture came as a welcome reprieve to the unseasonably warm and dry weather plaguing the region.
Phillips said almost a quarter-inch of rain was recorded at the Durango-La Plata County Airport.
Ski resorts rejoiced at the sight of snow blanketing the San Juan Mountains, covering Purgatory Resort in 9 inches of fresh powder, according to resort spokeswoman Kim Oyler.
Oyler said the snow couldn't have arrived at a more opportune moment with Winterfest 2018 planned Friday through Monday.
"We were really busy today, and I think a lot of folks are ready to get out and hit the powder," she said. "We are excited to see the snow and have a lot of great activities planned this weekend."
Nearly 40 percent of Purgatory's terrain is now open, including new trails on the backside of the mountain, Oyler said.
"You can now ski top to bottom on Lift 3 and the front-side of the mountain," she said.
Wolf Creek Ski Area reported 10 inches of powder from the storm.
The weather is predicted to return to clear skies and mild temperatures in the 40s for the remainder of the week, partially because a ridge of high pressure along the West Coast continues to block most storms from reaching Southwest Colorado.
"We are getting back into the pattern where that ridge along the West Coast has been a dominant feature," Phillips said. "Any storm that runs into that ridge gets forced north, so there's not as good of news for the southern mountains as for up north along the Wyoming border."